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Author Topic: 1.09 | Being Assertive  (DBT skill)  (Read 14950 times)
musicfan42
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« on: August 06, 2013, 07:32:34 AM »

TOOLS: Being Assertive in a Healthy Way (DBT Skill)

Assertiveness is a critical skill to maintaining healthy relationships. Without it, you'll be forced into passive or aggressive patterns that destroy the fabric of trust and intimacy.

Assertiveness is most easily learned by using a simple script. It will help give you structure to what you want to say and keep you focused. A script also has the advantage of permitting you to to develop a statement in advance, practicing it by yourself or with someone you trust, and finally (at a time you choose) delivering it with greater confidence.

I've taken this abstract from "The Dialectical Behavior Skills Workbook: Practical DBT exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotional Regulation and Distress Tolerance" by Matthew McKay, Jeffery C. Wood and Jeffrey Brantley.


The Three Elements of Assertiveness

There are three basic elements to an assertiveness statement and one optional component.

  • "I think" Statements

    This part focuses on the facts and your understanding of what's going on. It should not include judgments or assumptions about the other person's motives. It should not in any way attack. "I think" is a clear description of events and experiences that you need to talk about-and perhaps change.

    Here are some examples:

    -"I think we haven't spent much time together lately-two nights the last week, one on the week before"

    -"You've billed me for a repair I didn't authorize"

    -"Looking back at the recent past, I think you've been late to the majority of our meetings"

    Notice that there isn't much hint of emotion in any of these statements, and there's no disapproval in the statement of facts


  • "I feel" Statements

    Name the emotion that you feel e.g. "I feel anxious", "I feel stressed out" etc.

    Accusations and blame often start with the word "you" statements so they start with the word "you". Use "I feel" statements"-don't make "you" statements e.g. "you made me do this".

    Sometimes people dress up "I feel" statements to look like "I" statements. This charade is usually obvious because the sentence starts with: "I feel that you.."

    -"I feel that you are selfish"

    -"I feel that you're never home"

    -"I feel that you manipulate me"

    Notice that a judgment, not a feeling forms the core of such communications. It's certainly safer than an "I" statement-because the speaker is less vulnerable-but it communicates nothing of your emotional experience.


  • "I want" Statements

    This component is the whole point of assertiveness, and you need to think it through carefully. Here are some guidelines to follow:

    *Ask for behavior change-You are entitled to ask for what you want.

    *Ask for one behavior change at a time-People may get overwhelmed if they're asked to change too many behaviors at once. Asking them to change one behavior at a time makes it seem more manageable.

    *Ask for something that can be changed now-"The next time we go on vacation, I want you to.." is a poor "I want" statement because it'll be long forgotten about when the next vacation finally arrives.

    *Be specific and concrete-Vague requests like "be nicer" don't get you anywhere because nobody has a very clear picture of what they mean. Describe what new behavior you expect, and say when and where you'd want it to occur. Asking someone for twenty minutes of help doing research on the Internet is more effective than requesting "technological assistance".


  • 4) Self-Care Solution Statements (optional)

    Just asking for things isn't always enough. Sometimes you need to give people encouragement (reinforcement) before they're motivated to do something for you. The encouragement that works best is a fourth (optional) component of your assertive script called the self-care solution. This amounts to nothing more than telling the person what you'll do to take care of yourself if they don't comply with your request. The self-care solution isn't the same as threatening someone or punishing someone. Its purpose is to give information and show that you're not helpless, that you have a plan to solve the problem.

    Here are some examples:

    -"If you can't leave for the party on time, I'll take my own car"

    -"If you can't help with the cleaning, we'll hire a maid and we'll divide the expense"

    -"If you can't find a way to keep the noise down, I'll ask the police to help you"

    -"If you want to drive without insurance, I'll transfer the title to your name and you can take over the payments as well"

    None of these self-care solutions are designed to hurt the other person; they're about protecting your rights and taking care of your needs.



Example of Being Assertive in a Healthy Way

I think: I've been working against a deadline tonight and haven't had time to cook the dinner

I feel: I'm pretty anxious and overwhelmed that I might not get it done

I want: Could you whip something from the leftovers so I can keep going?

Self-Care Solution: If that doesn't work for you, I can order a pizza

One way to use your self-care solution is to hold it in reserve-only using it if the other person refuses your preferred solution. Saving "the big guns" for later is often an effective strategy.

Thank you Skip for helping me with the workshop discussion questions as well as editing this post.


Workshop Questions

  • Have you used assertiveness techniques in the past (e.g. SET, PUVAS, DEARMAN, "I think" and "I feel" statements etc.) What has worked for you? What hasn't worked for you?


  • Are there issues that stop us from asserting ourselves? Things like feeling selfish for saying no, worrying about upsetting someone etc.


  • How do we know our demands are appropriate or inappropriate?


  • How critical is timing in making a request-when is a good time to ask for what we want? When is a bad time?

    
  • What is the best way to deal with no?


NOTE: Assertiveness Scripts are very similar to the DEARMAN skill already mentioned in another workshop thread. Both tools involving making a request-asking someone for what you want.

I've noticed that some people on the forum find the DEARMAN skill to be complicated so hopefully, the assertiveness script could be used as an alternative. Both tools are equally as effective-it really depends on what works for you. Personally, I like acronyms so I prefer DEARMAN however it's up to each individual at the end of the day.
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Surnia
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« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2013, 12:43:45 PM »

Thank you very much, musicfan, great post, very clear and very inspiring.  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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“Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up. Stand on your sacred ground.”  Brené Brown
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« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2013, 01:56:20 PM »

Some of these tools really helped me, although I had not idea they were DBT skills.  Specifically, the "I feel" statements.  I had become so caught up in the dysfunction that I no longer could really say what I was feeling. As strange as it now sounds, I had to really think about what specific emotion I was feeling, and saying out loud actually helped. 

Simply saying things like "I feel angry" or "I'm worried" helped me deal with my own emotions and communicate those feelings in my relationship in a way that didn't invite argument. 

The "I think" and "I want" statements came a little later, and usually wrapped up in SET or DEARMAN formats.  Putting it all together like this is helpful. And I will start to incorproate this immidiately.

I'm also a big fan of putting together a "script" and practicing what you want to say, especially in the beginning when it's easy to feel overwhelmed or triggered.  I still use scripts too, especially to start difficult conversations.

Great workshop idea, thanks! 


 
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musicfan42
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« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2013, 06:51:48 PM »

You're welcome guys Smiling (click to insert in post)

Some of these tools really helped me, although I had not idea they were DBT skills.

DBT has a section called "Interpersonal Effectiveness" which is taken from assertiveness training. So any book/course on communication skills and assertiveness training is relevant to this topic... it doesn't have to be a DBT book.

There are other books that I personally find helpful. "The Feeling Good Handbook" by David Burns has a section in it on communication skills. I also like the book "When I Say No, I Feel Guilty" by Manuel J. Smith.

Specifically, the "I feel" statements.  I had become so caught up in the dysfunction that I no longer could really say what I was feeling. As strange as it now sounds, I had to really think about what specific emotion I was feeling, and saying out loud actually helped. 

That makes sense. When you're stressed out, it's hard to think straight. I find that identifying the specific emotion has a calming effect on me. Saying it out loud also helps me because I get it off my chest-it's not building up. I said to someone a while back "I feel angry" and that prevented me from losing my temper.

The Feeling Good Handbook talks about the importance of talking about your emotions as opposed to acting them out i.e. losing your temper, doing something destructive.

Simply saying things like "I feel angry" or "I'm worried" helped me deal with my own emotions and communicate those feelings in my relationship in a way that didn't invite argument. 

I highlighted this last part because it's very relevant to this topic.

The Feeling Good Handbook talks about the importance of owning your own thoughts and emotions-of using "I" statements e.g. "I think", "I feel" as opposed to "you made me feel bad". Blame is very common in arguments..when one or perhaps both people are feeling angry. Blaming the other person will usually cause the situation to escalate and work into an argument.
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pessim-optimist
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« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2013, 09:36:07 PM »

This was a wonderful idea for a workshop! Thought-provoking.

I have read the different components in different places, but puting it together this way makes it simple and powerful!

These two questions I struggle with:

2. Are there issues that stop us from asserting ourselves? Things like feeling selfish for saying no, worrying about upsetting someone etc.

3. How do we know our demands are appropriate or inappropriate?

Having grown up with BPD & NPD-traits family members, it is hard to assess sometimes where the balance between my needs/wants and others' needs/wants is... I think it stemms from not knowing exactly where my boundaries should have been, growing up. And nailing the balance of operating safely from within my boundaries, while being loving, compassionate, giving etc.

It is easier to assess the one extreme - when the assertion would be unethical, or exploitive, or hurtful to another person (unless it's the case of lesser of two evils) - the answer is easy - don't assert yourself.

Then there is the middle (hardest) - I think that is the core of the question #3. When is it appropriate, when is it inappropriate to assert oneself? It is absolutely ok to assert oneself if it is not at the expense or inconvenience to another. But what if my assertion of a need/want prevents another from satisfying their need/want? Who's needs/wants should I put first when? What if they are equally valid and competing?

The other extreme also hard - am I letting others assert themselves excessively at my expense (not asserting myself)? I think that one is easy to see in public situations, but can get tricky in intimate relationships if we had an un-healthy childhood.

I am looking forward to reading more insights.
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2013, 04:01:03 AM »

When I use "I think" with my dBPDs, I get... "I don't care what you think. 

He has pretty much the same reaction with any statements including "I want... ".  He does not care.

He responds more positively (sometimes) to "I feel... ".

Any opinion I express is viewed as argumentative, even when I agree with him.  It is very difficult to have a conversation, so I listen until pressed for a response which invariably is wrong...

Frustrating!
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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2013, 05:47:23 PM »

A great topic!

Having grown up in a family where I was not allowed to have an opinion or assert myself, this does not come naturally to me. Having something concrete like this is very helpful. Especially examples. Letting go of fear of upsetting the other person by asserting myself was a big step for me.

A lot also seems to depend on tone of voice and timing. I try to make sure I don't do this if I'm tired or upset, because I know I'll likely have a sharp edge or overtones of eye-rolling that'll take the conversation to an different level. And not addressing a situation when there is tension in the air already, about that situation or something else. I used to think that when things were going well I didn't want to rock the boat by making a demand, as I saw it. No I think the opposite. Those moments are much more likely to bring about a happy result.

To my surprise using these tools (SET, DEARMAN) has been easier than I thought. It really helps to have a script to guide me. The most challenging part for me has been to move on from the conversation when I get a "no". "If I could just say it differently, the other person would see that ... " Learning to accept that a no is a no and then move on hasn't been easy. It took awhile to learn to think in terms of what you call here the self-care-solution. It's a good name, because that's really what it is.
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« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2013, 10:49:10 AM »

I want to print this out. I so STRUGGLE with this! Wow.   
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« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2013, 07:35:09 PM »

OH MY GOODNESS. What a great contribution to the website!


Not to make light of the information at all, but I find I am very disappointed about one thing, so much of what I WANT to say in the moment is not in this list, for example, next day after a recent "conversation" with my uBPDh of 37 years:

him: "I know where that comes from--my mother. And I don't know why I do it."

what I want to say: So you KNOW it feels like acid burning my soul but you choose to do it anyway? WTF? (add eye roll here. And Scarlet Phoenix? i'm glad to know there's at least one other "i'm rolling my eyes right now in my head" person around.)

Sadly there is no sarcasm, snarkiness or profanity in this list. However, I will soldier on and learn these more appropriate ways of communicating.  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post) (It's been a particularly difficult week!)

On a more serious note (tho I was actually serious up there... ) i'm only realizing how much of my chaotic childhood has come into play with my interactions over the years with my H. I've learned in the last year or so that yes indeed I do have PTSD from those formative years and my pwBPD is very skilled at triggering them when he is in that dysregulated mode, (and here is where I feel you, Pessim-Optimist) so I've had trouble separating out what is okay for me to even HAVE as a need/want etc. So it's been a loong process for me to disentangle myself from my most excellent skills of codependency enough to quit reacting to those triggers. i'm still learning.

SET has worked for me, especially since it was enough shorter than DEARMAN for me to remember what three letters meant in my time of stress. I think I may be able to remember "I think" "I feel" "I want" (selfcare optional) but I've experienced what MammaMia said about "I don't care what you think." So i'm trying to learn to neutrally state my thoughts/feelings/wants and not worry about the response.

I quit saying "I need" years ago because that is a huge trigger for my uBPDh...

KHC? We all struggle with this, at least in the beginning until we have practiced it adequately for it to become "second nature." You are in good company! Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)

Thank you again MusicFan and Skip for this. Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2013, 09:00:33 AM »

This is a great topic/workshop. Along with Scarlet Phoenix I grew up in a household where I wasn't allowed to have my own opinion and did not learn how to be assertive. My upbringing was cold and sarcastic thanks to uBPDm and enDad. I have been doing SET for years and it is only recently - maybe in the last 2 years - that it has started to become second nature, finally. I have my days though where I can feel myself 'stewing and accusing' instead of using I statements. It is a constant struggle to correct my behavior but I am getting better at it.

I have also found that I am at a disadvantage in my professional life due to not learning how to be assertive. Sometimes I feel like I'm miles behind my coworkers emotionally. Has anyone else experienced this?

-WM
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« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2013, 05:10:02 PM »

This is a great topic/workshop. Along with Scarlet Phoenix I grew up in a household where I wasn't allowed to have my own opinion and did not learn how to be assertive. My upbringing was cold and sarcastic thanks to uBPDm and enDad. I have been doing SET for years and it is only recently - maybe in the last 2 years - that it has started to become second nature, finally. I have my days though where I can feel myself 'stewing and accusing' instead of using I statements. It is a constant struggle to correct my behavior but I am getting better at it.

I have also found that I am at a disadvantage in my professional life due to not learning how to be assertive. Sometimes I feel like I'm miles behind my coworkers emotionally. Has anyone else experienced this?

-WM

GAH! I have so many responses for you, WiseMind--first, that "cold and sarcastic" upbringing comment punched me in the gut, it being ohh soo familiar. (I guess I know where my desire for snarkiness comes from.)

BUT I am happy to hear there IS an point where SET becomes second nature, I am so far from there and have so much to learn!

The disadvantage in your professional life due to not learning how to be assertive is an interesting one--fortunately I don't have a professional life anymore, "fortunate" because I am so far from the type A achievers that i'm using another alphabet. But what an interesting question that I hope someone addresses here.

I do know that my upbringing was similar to yours with that component of "not being allowed to have my own opinion" that rings true to many difficulties I've had in many parts of my life. Heck, my rebellious teen years came in my twenties when I realized I could rebel since I didn't live at home! I can see in retrospect how the non-assertive me let my needs and wants be run over and had me continue to experience the dysregulation of my uBPDh in a more self-harming way. I've only been learning to embrace my needs and wants as valid in the past few years in therapy. Plus I had to learn how to be a parent to myself--the kind of parent we want who tells us they love us for exactly who we are, quirks and all--so I could answer back to my negative self-talk.

Are you in therapy? it's been amazing help for me in changing some of my mindsets that have arisen from the belief system I developed to cope with my chaotic childhood. For me gaining assertiveness has been part of the learning to love and accept myself journey.

Best wishes for learning and growing in yourself--I bet there's an assertive WiseMind in there waiting to be released. Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2013, 09:08:36 AM »

DreamFlyer99,

Thanks for your response. Although unfortunate that we have experienced this, it is always so validating to know others understand our experiences.   I am in therapy and have been for more than 2 years. Main issue is uBPDm, of course, but I also struggle with my enDad and sister, as well as my poor self-image. I am a work in progress  .

I look forward to hearing others' experiences and also if anyone has the professional assertiveness issue.

-WM
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« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2013, 06:05:56 PM »

Wisemind, the most important thing you said there is that you are a work in progress! You know it takes time, you've spent 2 years working through things and it sounds like you're prepared to spend whatever time is necessary. You know there's no immediate answer. I've seen my brain change (well, not literally) since I've been in therapy (umm... a decade longer than you) as I've learned different responses to life. It takes time to get rid of those deeply held belief systems built in childhood.

See? You're already wise!  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2013, 10:26:42 PM »

I have also found that I am at a disadvantage in my professional life due to not learning how to be assertive. Sometimes I feel like I'm miles behind my coworkers emotionally. Has anyone else experienced this?

I wanted to address this issue, to affirm that - yes, in fact, you are not alone 

As your upbringing did not equip you (or me for that matter) with a healthy set of tools, it affects all areas of our lives - of course it will show up in our professional life as well.

I think that each bpdfamily situation has its own style of dysfunction. So, for us who grew up in it, it is good to explore the deficits and then correct them as we are growing in those areas. The good news: it is possible and fairly easy, once you detect what the problem is and what the solution is. Don't get me wrong - it is hard diligent work, and it is uncomfortable and scary sometimes. But the actual formula IS simple: little by little, practice what you know is right and it gets more and more natural, and you get more and more confident.

For me personally, the main professional issues were these:

1. Avoiding adressing problems

I felt very uncomfortable in these situations. As in my family the pattern was either not to mention an issue, or have a rage fest (neither is acceptable among healthy people, even more so in a professional setting). What helped to start was my unhealthy ability to stuff my emotions, and remain calm as I learned more appropriate calm, but assertive ways of approaching conflicts with a positive, problem-solving attitude. Looking at confrontation as an opportunity to move through a difficult situation together, rather than an "us vs. them" battle. (I am still learning how to do that better)

2. In a leadership position - looking to others for clues as to what they wanted and pleasing them, rather than being a leader and providing structure that I knew was best for everyone.

This one was easier to correct. I just read in a book that not providing clear leadership was bad for the team in many ways. So, I decided right there and then, that I would think about the situation, and present my decisions clearly with confidence. And if someone did not like it, I was going to be open to re-consider the options.

3. Not asking for what I wanted (time off, raises etc.)

This one is still difficult, because it involves an assessment of myself and my needs/desires versus the value I am putting in and also others' needs/desires; and balancing all. But it does get easier also.

Baby steps!  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2013, 11:34:48 PM »

I just feel dumb sometimes. I have been working in therapy for 20 years, and sometimes feel no progress. This statement is a part of my problem. I have made a lot of progress, just did not understand that each relationship in my life is unique and sometimes requires altering the script. Well, in fact, I experience great internal resistance to accepting the need to write the script. It involves changing myself.

2013 has been a the most challenging year of my life. So much has changed for me in the past couple of months. New supportive relationships with new friends, new T, reading new ideas about attachment and neurological development when attachment is messed up as a child. I think I am finally able accept working, in my core and not my intellect, on accepting help with the self-changes needed to be able to write the script.

I have also tapped into the stregnth that my faith provides, and many of those in my new support team can share this with me. Though I am a challenging participant, raising lot of unique questions.

Having the knowledge of the wording, and trying to use it, is only a small part. The non-verbal language and timing are really key. And I have not been good at this part in the past.

This is a great workshop. Popped up today when I really needed the support it offers.

qcr
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« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2013, 06:23:14 AM »

This is the part of my growth I'm most consumed with right now. Thanks so much for creating a workshop on assertiveness!

A hard part for me is managing the physiological reaction, especially when I'm asserting myself with someone in a position of authority. I wish the feeling that I'm going to be annihilated would go away! I think the physical sensation stuff goes along with what qcarolr said about the nonverbal language and timing being key, and Scarlet Phoenix said about tone and voice. Even if I say something assertive, the nonverbal cues might say otherwise, showing either how anger or scared I truly am.

I tend to be a nervous talker in moments when it would really be best for me to remain quiet. If I can't be calm and assertive, I want to be able to reflect and take stock. And come back to the person or issue when I've had a chance to settle down my emotions and speak from a more centered place.

What WiseMind and pessim-optimist said about professional assertiveness really hit home for me. Since N/BPDx is no longer in my life, and BPD brother and N-traits father are 3000 miles away, my practice ring is pretty much closed for business  Smiling (click to insert in post)

So it's my professional life where assertiveness shows up the most. My supervisor is a bit of a mean girl. She changes the goalposts, and then chastises people for missing the goal. She's never wrong, everyone is stupid, no one knows how to do anything except her, etc. And she's a score keeper. I know if I assert myself, I'll pay for it at some point. She doesn't forget when someone makes her look stupid, which I think is how she feels when I assert myself. The one saving grace is that I have a lot of respect from higher ups in my organization, so she begrudgingly acknowledges that and has to be somewhat careful with me. I see her inflict a lot more damage on my coworkers, and one of them has started treatment for panic attacks and an anxiety disorder in reaction to our workplace.

In case anyone finds it useful, Fear and Anxiety in the Workplace by Harriet Lerner (Dance of Anger) is really good. It taught me that in many situations, if there's a problem and you don't address it directly with someone, you're part of the problem.

So I try to assert myself, but I think in professional situations, there can definitely be a cost. For example, my supervisor scolded me and said I shouldn't be working on x, I should be working on y. I needed to drop x immediately and start working nonstop on y. Even though x is something my two top bosses had asked me to do. I felt the danger danger danger

reaction, but kept talking nervously, trying to make a case for why I couldn't just drop x right away. Then I nervous talked myself into a reason for needing to leave. Later in a meeting, supervisor came up with a brainstorm that involved me doing work not related to y, and I said, "I can't do that because I need to focus only on y right now." My tone was calm, I said it matter of factly, almost apologetically.

Supervisor had a look on her face that told me I would pay for that comment. Next day, I get called into the office and scolded for something unrelated.

There are dozens of instances like that. I find myself being very economical with assertiveness, picking and choosing my battles.

Maybe that's just common sense.

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« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2013, 08:08:19 PM »

So I try to assert myself, but I think in professional situations, there can definitely be a cost.

I believe there is also a cost to NOT asserting ourselves - it comes up in our stress levels, our health etc. etc. Ultimately, we need to make the decision of which cost we are willing to pay. Nobody can tell us which one to choose.

For example, my supervisor scolded me and said I shouldn't be working on x, I should be working on y. I needed to drop x immediately and start working nonstop on y. Even though x is something my two top bosses had asked me to do. I felt the danger danger danger

reaction, but kept talking nervously, trying to make a case for why I couldn't just drop x right away. Then I nervous talked myself into a reason for needing to leave. Later in a meeting, supervisor came up with a brainstorm that involved me doing work not related to y, and I said, "I can't do that because I need to focus only on y right now." My tone was calm, I said it matter of factly, almost apologetically.

This sounds like a case of muddled boundaries within the company...

It is hard to assert ourselves if the relationships of authority/responsibility aren't clearly defined.

If we are being forced to assume responsibility, but not given the appropriate authority, we can calmly give the responsibility back.

E.g.:'I would love to work on y, and I will, if you want me to. I was also asked to work on x and I will miss the deadline on x if I work on y. Would you like me to continue on x, or switch to y, in which case I will need to notify so-and-so that I will not be able to complete x, because of focusing on y?'

And again later - 'Is it ok, with you to shift my focus from y and do this?' - is a simple question shifting the responsibility back.

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« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2013, 09:18:59 AM »

Excerpt
This sounds like a case of muddled boundaries within the company...

It is hard to assert ourselves if the relationships of authority/responsibility aren't clearly defined.

If we are being forced to assume responsibility, but not given the appropriate authority, we can calmly give the responsibility back.

E.g.:'I would love to work on y, and I will, if you want me to. I was also asked to work on x and I will miss the deadline on x if I work on y. Would you like me to continue on x, or switch to y, in which case I will need to notify so-and-so that I will not be able to complete x, because of focusing on y?'

And again later - 'Is it ok, with you to shift my focus from y and do this?' - is a simple question shifting the responsibility back.

Thanks pessim-optimist -- this is great advice. I can still see challenges in doing this, but it's the clearest way to handle it. Challenging, because my ego is attached. I want her to realize that I have many masters, and she is only one of them, and the lowest one on the totem pole. Probably because I haven't asserted myself as much as I wanted to in the past, so it's built up and loaded.
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DreamFlyer99
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« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2013, 04:23:26 PM »

Pessim-Optimist,

I love what you said:

Excerpt
If we are being forced to assume responsibility, but not given the appropriate authority, we can calmly give the responsibility back.

E.g.:'I would love to work on y, and I will, if you want me to. I was also asked to work on x and I will miss the deadline on x if I work on y. Would you like me to continue on x, or switch to y, in which case I will need to notify so-and-so that I will not be able to complete x, because of focusing on y?'

And again later - 'Is it ok, with you to shift my focus from y and do this?' - is a simple question shifting the responsibility back.

I have a severe envy of people who can see that clearly! Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)  I've often thought if I could carry a Pocket Edition of my therapist with me during the day I would do so much better.

Your advice takes it to a neutral standpoint, all worries about self taken out. What a great goal.
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pessim-optimist
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« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2013, 11:00:12 PM »

I have a severe envy of people who can see that clearly! Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)  I've often thought if I could carry a Pocket Edition of my therapist with me during the day I would do so much better.

Your advice takes it to a neutral standpoint, all worries about self taken out. What a great goal.

It is so much easier to sit back and analyze someone else's situation from the comfort of one's computer screen, and no real-time real-life pressure, anxiety, stress etc...

But by learning and even 'practicing' here on the boards, certain concepts become clearer, and easier to practice in real life, and little by little, we can see progress in our lives.

Doing the right thing (click to insert in post) Give yourselves credit for working hard on yourselves on these boards! It takes courage to look at ourselves truthfully. Yet it needs to be done with the nurturing gentleness, that a little child needs...
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« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2013, 05:41:10 PM »

Yup, Pessim-Optimist,

like everything else it's practice practice practice! It does help to have wisdom heaped upon us by those of you who are further ahead on the learning journey.  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

Becoming more honest about my life as a whole has decreased my depression, so truth definitely helps.

Thanks for sharing with us. Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2013, 04:28:56 AM »

Great article I truly started to learn at my age to finally be assertive.
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« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2013, 08:36:36 PM »

"I feel" statements have never worked for me. He'd simply answer things like "I don't CARE about your feelings" or "we don't make decisions based on feelings, but on logic", "your feelings are not my problem" etc. After hanging around for a few days I can see that there are many BPD manifestations that are shared between high and low functioning people and their varying degrees, but one that is not shared across the board is their sensitivity/ empathy towards others. My husband couldn't give a rats behind about my feelings, never did, probably never will. Made it clear right from the get go. He doesn't feel remorse if he hurts me, or anyone else. Not that he'd admit. And he doesn't see it as his responsibility to salve or support my feelings when I am having personal issues. So that tool, just doesn't work for me at ALL. 

"I think" only works if the BPD respects your thoughts or opinions. Again, doesn't work for us. "I want"... hmm. That one is just asking for me to be told "we all want things we can't have." Overall, these communication tools may be great for some, I could see how they would work on me if someone used them - quite well. But not for my BPDh. 

So I am left with... no communication tools that help him! Greeeeat  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)
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musicfan42
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« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2013, 09:50:34 AM »

"I feel" statements have never worked for me. He'd simply answer things like "I don't CARE about your feelings" or "we don't make decisions based on feelings, but on logic", "your feelings are not my problem" etc. After hanging around for a few days I can see that there are many BPD manifestations that are shared between high and low functioning people and their varying degrees, but one that is not shared across the board is their sensitivity/ empathy towards others. My husband couldn't give a rats behind about my feelings, never did, probably never will. Made it clear right from the get go. He doesn't feel remorse if he hurts me, or anyone else. Not that he'd admit. And he doesn't see it as his responsibility to salve or support my feelings when I am having personal issues. So that tool, just doesn't work for me at ALL.  

"I think" only works if the BPD respects your thoughts or opinions. Again, doesn't work for us. "I want"... hmm. That one is just asking for me to be told "we all want things we can't have." Overall, these communication tools may be great for some, I could see how they would work on me if someone used them - quite well. But not for my BPDh.  

So I am left with... no communication tools that help him! Greeeeat  Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)

Hi Seneca,

That's unfortunate to hear however have you looked at the DEARMAN acronym? It's a communication tool used to get what you want in situations. It may be a good alternative. There's a workshop thread on the DEARMAN acronym.

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« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2017, 03:58:28 AM »

I've used SET effectively with a borderline to defuse some of the dysregulation, but the:

Action (What you are doing...)
Feel (...is making me feel angry/sad/anxious...)
Like (...I would like you to stop doing it...)
Need (...or I will need to do xyz)

has been the most effective boundary defense tool that I have experienced.

There really is only two options for the boundary buster after this defense. To continue the behaviour and incur the consequence, or respect the boundary. I've used it effectively with a Borderline ex and with my children
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